The typical schedule for a Miss Cayman Islands Universe means social events and appearances. It involves meeting new people, talking to the community and, well, going out in public.
Times of pandemic, however, require creativity to fulfil the role’s duty as a cultural ambassador.
For Kadejah Bodden, crowned Miss Cayman in August 2019, social media and video allowed her to stay connected to the community during lockdown. In addition to starring in public service announcements, including a government video on face masks, she also started a YouTube channel to share hair and beauty tips.
As shelter-in-place restrictions ease, Bodden is venturing out again. She made her first public appearance since March on 17 June for Savannah Primary School’s leaving ceremony. The drive-through celebration allowed Year 6 students to receive awards and wave goodbye to teachers from the safety of their family vehicles. At the end of the route, students had the chance to take a photo with Bodden, who wore a black face mask and her Miss Cayman crown.
“I’m actually a past student of Savannah Primary,” she said.
“I really appreciated they thought to reach out to me to do this and the opportunity because here are some of my favourite memories as a kid.”
As a primary student, Bodden lived through another period of shutdown following Hurricane Ivan. She recalled how the island came to a stop then too.
Sixteen years later, she has developed new coping skills, including exercise, yoga and bonding with family.
“It’s just about keeping yourself busy and doing things that feel good inside. That’s what I’ve been focussing on,” she said.
“For the young people at home, I would just like to say, ‘keep your head up’. This is just a small chapter in our lives, and it is going to get better. Right now, we can’t focus on the things we can’t change. It’s better to think about the future and what we are looking forward to next.”